A suspension was imposed on an airport security officer who faced allegations of taking $300 from a passenger and consuming it. However, she has asserted that she was merely enjoying some chocolate.
The incident occurred on September 8th when a passenger, Mr. Cai, passed through the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines. After his bag was inspected, he realized that his money had disappeared from his wallet.
Mr. Cai had been at the airport around 8:20 pm, and an official from the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) had checked his shoulder bag. Yet, upon verifying the bag's contents, he noticed that approximately $300 was missing following the baggage inspection.
An inquiry into the allegations of missing money led to the suspension of an airport security officer. She was accused of theft, as security camera footage seemed to depict her consuming what authorities now believe were banknotes.
The security footage captured an airport staff member putting something into their mouth and subsequently taking several sips of water to wash down whatever they had ingested.
The OTS issued a statement, stating that they initiated an investigation based on Mr. Cai's claim of missing money.
They stated: "Upon receipt of the information about the recent allegations of theft involving a Security Screening Officer (SSO) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, where a cash amounting to three hundred (300) US dollars went missing, the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) took actions to validate the information and launch its fact-finding investigation."
The Philippine Star reported that the security officer has refuted allegations of consuming a passenger's money. She submitted an affidavit asserting that the CCTV footage captured her eating chocolate.
However, investigators have expressed skepticism about these claims. OTS Administrator Mao Aplasca argued that eating chocolate in that manner was "not normal" and suggested that someone eating chocolate wouldn't require water to wash it down.
The security officer has not been arrested because, as Aplasca stated, there is no evidence of her stealing the money.
Mr. Cai has chosen not to file charges against the suspended security officer. The investigation into the possibly consumed money, which may or may not have been chocolate, will also scrutinize the actions of 14 other airport staff members.
In addition to the officer captured on CCTV consuming something, their supervisor and another staff member who provided them with a bottle of water have also been suspended.